Lord Ganesh, a divine genius, has been represented in the statue primarily as playing on his flute, but the gesture of his trunk waving towards left, the ecstasy revealing from his eyes and face, the semi-dance mode of his feet and the rhythm that defines his entire anatomy, are more the attributes of a dancer, which this form of Lord Ganesh blends. Dance is not, however, his deliberate mode. It is more like a spontaneous reflex, as the 'Venuvadaka' does not know when his head curved in rapture and feet turned to the notes of his flute. The melody that emits from an ordinary bamboo pipe not only enchants the world beyond but sends the piper also into a similar trance and in the process reels his entire figure rhythmically float the ends of his sash and stretch to the optimum his ears. He holds in his upper hands a goad and noose, the instruments of war, but in the totality they look more like the instruments of dance vibrating ecstatically with the rise and fall of pitch, something like an object a flag, standard or the like, which a dancer picks and raises into air when the ecstasy of his dance is on its height.
This form of Lord Ganesh presents an excellent synthesis of two conflicting sects of Brahmanism, the Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Like Harihara icons synthsising Vishnu and Shiva in one form, Lord Ganesh, the son of Shiva, has Shiva's 'tripunda' mark on his forehead and the Shaivite weapons in hands, and at the same time wears Vishnu's crown, or a crown corresponding to that of Lord Vishnu, has a 'tribhang' posture and is playing on flute, the characteristics of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna.
The statue has been carved out of a single log of the Vangai wood, a fine timber growing in Kalakorchi region of Tamilnadu and used since centuries for artistic carving in the south and the entire Indian coastal region including Orissa, Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka and a large part of Maharashtra. The Vangai wood as timber usable for carving ranks with teak growing in Central India, birch growing around Kashmir valley, cedar growing almost in entire Himalayan region, and sesem growing in plains, especially Punjab. There still survive wood artefacts of Gupta period estimated to date around the fourth century. The seventh century wood temples of Bharmor and Chhitarari in Himalayan region beyond Chamba valley with finely carved images and designing patterns reveal the strength of Indian timber matching with that of stone.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes
on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief
curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New
Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and
Of Related Interest:
More Art with 'Venu'
South Indian Art
Wood Carvings Gallery
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